Bullying a big problem in schools today

Opinion

To the Editor:

Thinking of how things have changed or not changed: 50 some years ago I can recall how my youngest sister in Grade 1 regularly came home on the bus with black tape over her mouth for talking out in class. This would never happen today! When I was in Grade 8 our classroom was next to the principal’s office and it was not uncommon to hear students being smashed up against the wall by the principal. This would never happen today!

The biggest concern today is bullying when it comes to students in our school system. Bullying has been around since the beginning of time but is now being named and addressed to some extent. Bullying can happen in many places — home, work, sport and school, wherever there is more than one.

Children are taught that bullying is not acceptable, yet it is still happening. Adults know bullying is not acceptable, yet it still happens. It is a learned behaviour. Things that happen to these children will shape their adult lives and how they handle themselves in society. I have heard there are some teachers who resort to bullying students when they should be trying to encourage them. A situation that comes to mind concerns a Grade 2 student daily being told by the teacher that he is ‘bad’ with the child coming home from school crying telling his mom that the teacher says he is ‘bad’. I think it is important to give positive messages to encourage these children. A child that is criticized all the time will grow up not loving themselves. You are to love your neighbour as you love yourself…if you do not love yourself first it will be hard for you to love someone else.

We are all unique individuals so these little people/all people cannot be put in the same box. We all learn differently. I think that there are many children who are what I call ‘busy, bright and bored’ so it is time this was recognized and addressed. It seems the common solution today is to label these children as ADHD, hyperactive, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, ODD, dyslexic, Asperger’s etc. and to drug them. This is not to say that there are some with legitimate problems that medication could/would help. Why not try other methods first? I feel that these little people/ adults too could benefit from being taught breathing techniques, meditation and yoga. There is always more than one way! I know of a situation where a primary teacher in the fall taught her students a little song with actions to help themselves. It goes like this:

I’m a limp rag doll

I have no bones at all

My arms are limp

And my legs are limp

My body’s limp

My head is limp

I’m a limp rag doll

There was a situation where my little friend wanted to lash out at his brother but just walked away and sang this little song. There are also some class rooms with stand-up desks for students; I know of a Grade 2 student who had the option of using one. I know of a Grade 12 math teacher who has two stand-up desks at the back of the room for two very bright young men. There is always more than way of dealing with a problem.

As I always say be nice to little people, be nice to yourself because if you are not nice to yourself then who will be? I like to try to treat the person standing in front of me like I would like to be treated myself. Why not try to put this idea into practice? We are only human and can all fail by times. It can be hard to teach old dogs new tricks but it is not impossible. It is time we ‘old dogs’ try and show all these ‘young dogs’ a better way to deal with life and all its challenges. They are the future. Each day is a new day. Be sure you are not the person you were yesterday, today.

Be mindful!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow